Apple today previewed software features for cognitive, vision, hearing, and mobility accessibility, along with innovative tools for individuals who are nonspeaking or at risk of losing their ability to speak. These updates draw on advances in hardware and software, include on-device machine learning to ensure user privacy, and expand on Apple’s long-standing commitment to making products for everyone.
This year’s preview also includes a grab bag of nice updates to existing accessibility features, including updated text size adjustments in macOS and tweaks to Siri voices for VoiceOver users who want to listen at extremely high speaking rates. Voice Control will add phonetic suggestions when editing text.
Several of the preview features clearly benefit from machine learning, and Personal Voice might be touted as an AI-based tool if it came from another company. It feels like an application of the technology that’s both entirely positive for the community it’s meant to serve, and reflective of a pretty nuanced understanding of what that community might want.